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District to allow limited fans at D.C. United games, Yunus Musah commits to USMNT, and more: Freedom Kicks for 3/16/2021

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We might be able to sub out some tarps for fans in the near future

Columbus Crew SC v DC United Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

I have a bag of spicy cashews, I have some seltzer, let’s get into the soccer news of note! We don’t have a ton of links, but what we do have is some big D.C. United news, some future Washington Spirit news, and what I’m reliably told is some USMNT news of note as well.

D.C. United will be allowed to have 2,000 fans at Audi Field | Black and Red United
Mayor Bowser’s address yesterday included a statement that teams are allowed to apply for limited admission for fans. For United, that means 2,000 people, or 10% of Audi Field’s capacity.

Things are not back to normal at all, but this is a positive sign as we inch towards being able to, you know, safely go places and see people. Remember places and people?

D.C. United defender Steven Birnbaum out until June after ankle surgery | Black and Red United
This is not good news. United could use their captain (I’m making an assumption there, but it seems like a reasonable one), who also happens to be their most accomplished defender. Here’s hoping the return timeline ends up being on the short side, but we’re talking about a third of the season either way.

D.C. United’s Steven Birnbaum to miss 2-3 months of MLS season after second ankle surgery | Washington Post
More on the injury from Steven Goff, including some other injury timelines. The Black-and-Red’s opening day lineup is not going to look like their July lineup.

For folks coming through on Apple News or who use a screen reader, here’s what’s in this tweet from Black Players for Change:

BPC has been made aware of tweets sent by Paul [Arriola] from 2012. BPC doesn’t stand for this type of rhetoric but understands the age of the tweets may not reflect Paul’s current worldview. The management at D.C. United has arranged for Paul to speak to his teammates about his comments and recent public statement of apology. BPC board members and Paul’s BPC teammates will be in attendance at that meeting and will brief the Black player pool on the dynamics of that team meeting.

Not that my judgment of this situation is worth centering, but this sounds like a measured approach from the BPC that requires real contrition and also allows for reconciliation and growth.

On the Spirit side of things, 1st round pick Tara McKeown was back on the scoresheet for USC:

Unfortunately, USC squandered what was an early 2-0 lead, ending up in overtime. McKeown won a penalty kick in the 1st overtime half, but USC squandered that too, and Colorado eventually completed a 3-2 comeback win.

As for the Spirit, camp continues down in Florida with some two-session days today and tomorrow ahead of a weekend preseason match against Orlando.

Yunus Musah commits to USMNT | Stars and Stripes FC
I don’t think many people saw this coming, at least at this time, but the USMNT won a major recruiting battle as Valencia midfielder Yunus Musah has committed his international future to the United States. Speaking as someone who has lost the emotional bond with the USMNT but watches the games to stay up with the discourse, I thought Musah (especially for his age) looked like a potentially special player in his appearances, and getting him to commit is a pretty big deal.

Alright, I’m at the point in my bag of cashews where I’ve got more spicy dust than cashew, and I’m also out of links, so I’ll exit gracefully before we even hit 600 words. Have a good one friends!